By Mal Boright
The girls’ soccer history annals at Champlain Valley Union (CVU) High, and indeed, all of Vermont, are getting thick with Redhawk moments.
In the wake of Saturday’s generally dominating 1-0 victory over 14-4 Burlington High for the Division 1 title on the Seahorses turf, here is a tally of some historical accomplishments of note:
It was the fourth straight crown for CVU, a streak the program matched back in the 90s among its haul of 15 championships.
The win completed a second straight undefeated (18-0) season with the run of triumphant games now at 44.
Scoring goals on netminders Maddie Turneau and Michaela Flore is akin to driving quickly and non-stop through the UVM-Burlington Main St. jug handle at 5pm on weekdays. You simply don’t do it. Last year CVU allowed but one score (a penalty kick) all season. This year it was a mere three with 15 blankings of the opposition.
Then there is the unlikely but awesome experiences of senior tri-captain and midfielder Paige DuBrul who has played and started on the varsity for four seasons and helped carry off the championship trophy at the Burlington High field in all four autumns.
“You must feel like this is your home field,” somebody mentioned to the CVU captain as the post-game congratulations were being offered at the field.
“Yes, this is great,” was DuBrul’s laughing reply.
Since she started patrolling midfields in her freshman season in 2011, the Redhawks’ record stands at 68-2-2.
And while she just might not be the only Vermont interscholastic sports performer to be on a state championship team in all four years of varsity play, the feat has to be at least as rare as Vermont maple syrup in Louisiana.
And DuBrul has been the go-to athlete when the game-turning opportunities arrive.
Last year, in the 1-0 title victory over Essex High, DuBrul fired the lone score of the game on a crucial corner kick from then senior Kaelyn Kohlash late in the second half of a scoreless deadlock.
This year, it was DuBrul making a key pass to help break up another zero-zero affair, this time in the first half.
Near the middle of the field, DuBrul got the ball from senior Audrey Allegretta and unloaded a pass to an oncharging Mackenzie Buckman who found rare space and booted a quick shot into the right side of the net, some 20 yards away.
“Bucky’s always open on that (left) side,” said DuBrul. “I expected her to be there.”
CVU coach Stan Williams said the play of sending defender Buckman on a solo mission down the right side to receive the pass and possibly get a scoring opportunity worked the way it was intended.
As for Buckman, who has shown her defensive chops all year as a hustling disturbance to would be offensive-minded foes, the goal was an almost new experience.
“I seldom get goals,” she said, crediting her mates with a great set-up.
In the second half, CVU took the game to the Burlington end of the field and except for one serious foray that is where the game stayed, with BHS netminder Norah Mitchell making eight stops (11 in the game) over the closing 40 minutes.
Turneau had two stops in the CVU cage, both in the first half.
The second half game-knotting possibility came just after the 20-minute mark when BHS’s Abigail Feeney hot footed it toward a loose ball some 25 yards out from the CVU net. Turneau also charged toward the ball and while Feeney got there first, the Redhawk goalie’s looming presence forced Feeney to overshoot the net.
Burlington’s best geographical moments came in the first 20 minutes of the game.
“They (BHS) came out at us hard,” said the senior Turneau. “It was nerve wracking.”
But the veteran CVU team (eight seniors) restored order.
“That was probably our best half of the season,” said Williams of the late segment.
Just when they needed it, which is the Redhawk way.
By Mal Boright